(Part 2) How to Build a Smart Website:
Know their Pain; Speak their Solution

It's the Antidote for Getting Lost in the Noise of the Internet

Allow me to start by stating the obvious: There’s a lot of noise out there on the Internet.

It’s because of all of the noise that we must talk about the antidote to getting lost in the noisy Internet: audience. Namely, a small targeted audience. Let me break this down even more—talk to one person in your messaging.

There are two things you need to know about your small, one-person audience.

  1. Who they are
  2. What pain points they have that fall within your area of expertise

I’ve blogged about audience before, and I’ll likely blog about it again because I believe defining a niche audience is vital to the success of your business and foundational to building a smart website. You may remember from last week’s post that a smart website starts with the people and strategy behind it, not the technology. Admittedly, the technology is the fun part we all want to dive straight into. (Including us. We do build websites after all.)

When you don’t apply the antidote.

You likely can help many audiences with your product, service, and knowledge. This is why drilling down to one audience can be so incredibly difficult. “What about the lost opportunity?” asks the entrepreneur and savvy business leader. Totally. I get it. Focusing on one small audience seems counterintuitive.

But here’s the problem: The Internet is incredibly noisy.

You have to apply the strategy that cuts through the noise in today’s loud, information-saturated world. This means being great at grabbing the attention of your one audience so you can speak their language and address their specific pain.

Once you get the hang of this and have a growing audience, then you can move out to another audience. See how that works?

If you don’t, you end up talking to so many different types of people that your message ultimately becomes irrelevant to everyone you are trying to attract. And, you end up spending loads more money in marketing trying to get the results you want. Make sense?

Keep this in mind when you start drilling down to the one.

If you are just starting out or if this is your first time filtering down to a single audience, know this: There’s a good chance what you initially define will change. You may not completely nail this on your first shot.

This is okay.

You need to do it anyway because you’ve got to start somewhere. As you're communicating content written to your one audience, understand that, proverbially speaking, you are throwing words up against the wall and seeing what sticks. What are people responding to? What falls flat?

This doesn’t end, by the way—the constant evolution and adaption to your audience’s needs and perspective.

Podcaster and blogger, Pat Flynn, who has a subscriber list of over 150,000 emails, still calls his audience members to interview them and find out why they subscribed, what they’re hoping to learn from him and what major pain points he should address at this moment.

It’s the best kind of marketing research—talking one-on-one with your one audience, not to mention being the cheapest way to go. There’s nothing else like it.

But, you need a starting point….

Here’s how you drill down to your audience.

Step 1

Think about your ideal client. You may already have this client—that person or organization you love to work with who keeps coming back to you for more help and information in your field. Perhaps it’s a friend who reaches out to you for help in the same area over and over. This is your “audience representative.”

Keep this person in mind as you move to step two.

Step 2

Sit down and write out the primary pain points of this person and possible questions they have that align with your expertise. Don’t edit yourself at this point. Write freely.

As you brainstorm, keep in mind this tip from Jon Loomer, a Facebook Advertising blogger for advanced advertisers who speaks to his own audience-first journey on his blog saying, “I want to stress how important it is to find a [content] focus with depth...When your focus has depth, it provides endless opportunities to answer questions.”

Reach out to others who may already know something about your audience and get feedback to deepen your understanding of their needs. This information is gold and can provide you with a solid starting point.

Step 3

Write it down! Remember, this is just a starting point and there’s a good chance it will become sharper and clearer as you begin to produce the blog post/podcast/product video to be launched from your smart site.

I recommend you hang a photo of your “audience representative” near your computer to keep your attention riveted on what’s most important.

Along with the photo, give your person a name (real or otherwise) and write a short description of what they are trying to do and the business problem they want to solve. Or, even simpler, write out a few bullet points.

Don’t be fooled by the simplicity of this approach.

Don’t be fooled by the simplicity of this approach, Alicia. (Sorry if you're not Alicia. That's who I'm talking to. Grin.)  If you get this far, and do this exercise, you will have the advantage because you have something that many businesses struggle with: FOCUS.

The content and flow of your website are dependent on FOCUS.

Want to read more? Subscribe below for weekly updates directly to your inbox on this series, “How to Build a Smart Website.”



April Mann

April Mann used to be co-owner and Digital Marketing Strategist for Magnified Web. Now she currently works at ESRI as a Web Content Specialist. Get more from April on the Magnified Web blog.

April Mann, Co-owner of Magnified Web
April Mann, Co-owner of Magnified Web

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